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Man assaults toddler, sentenced to 3 months in jail

District Attorney's Office 'stunned' at light sentence after man beat up toddler

TaylorA Vernonia man pleaded guilty April 30 to two charges of third-degree assault against a girl who at the time was less than 2 years old.

Nathan Taylor, 27, apparently tortured the victim — his girlfriend’s daughter — by force-feeding her, hitting her when she cried and exposing her to violence in the home, according to a press release from the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office.

While Deputy District Attorney John Berg argued Taylor should serve more than three years in prison, Columbia County Circuit Court Judge Jenefer Grant suspended the prison sentence and placed Taylor on probation with 90 days in jail. Grant explained she wanted Taylor to attend classes for his crimes.

Berg said given the “horrific abuse” the infant suffered at the hands of Taylor, he and the District Attorney’s Office were “stunned” by the ruling.

“I put into evidence a picture of the child’s face,” Berg said. “She had a lot of bruises.”

Taylor’s defense attorney, Sara Snyder, argued Taylor should not serve prison time, as he had taken a 16-hour online course for his crimes and had been working extensive hours during the time of the assaults. Snyder also argued the toddler was not his child and Taylor was under added stress since he was being prosecuted on felony drug possession charges in Washington at the time.

Tom Valano, a Doernbecher Children’s Hospital doctor who examined the toddler, testified the child had gained less than a pound in nearly a year’s time, had multiple bruises to her face, head and body as well as a cut to the back of her head. Valano also said the child had suffered brain damage and had two chipped teeth, but noted there was no way to tell whether those injuries were caused by the abuse.

Taylor admitted to slapping the child’s face and identified multiple bruises he had caused, but noted she “bruises easily.” Taylor said his crimes were separate incidents and not part of a continuous episode and that he knew the victim was particularly vulnerable, being a toddler when he assaulted her.

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